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COVID-19: Strict vigil in 12 airports in Northeast

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Guwahati, March 4, 2020-

Amid the coronavirus outbreak in China and other countries, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), along with the state governments, have been maintaining a strict vigilance in all the 12 functional airports in the Northeast, officials said on Wednesday.

To curb the threat of COVID-19, authorities have set up several screening and testing centres along the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, which shares frontiers along the seven northeastern states.

AAI Regional Executive Director Sanjeev Jindal said there are two international airports in the northeast — Guwahati and Imphal — but no international flight is currently operating in Imphal, while no other airline except Bhutan’s Drukair operates their flights between Guwahati, Singapore, Thailand and Bhutan.

“Though no passenger has yet come directly to the northeast from the coronavirus-affected countries, our personnel deployed in the medical and screening counters in all the 12 functional airports in northeastern states are screening the incoming passengers,” Jindal said.

He said even domestic passengers, especially those who are suspected of having any symptoms, are being screened at the airports.

The AAI Regional Executive Director said the staff posted in the medical and screening counters in the airports are being updated as and when the advisories are received from the central government over the coronavirus issue.

Meanwhile, the state governments are conducting “Gram Sabha” meetings in the bordering districts along China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan to make people aware of remaining vigilant about the illegal infiltration of people, including those possibly infected by the coronavirus.

To check the threat of COVID-19, Indian authorities have set up screening and testing centres along the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.

A medical team comprising doctors and health staff has been conducting medical check-ups at Zokhawthar (an India-Myanmar border checkpost in Champhai district of eastern Mizoram) for travellers across the borders based on their health status and travel history.

Manipur Health and Family Welfare Department had also deployed medical officers along India-Myanmar border towns of Moreh and Behiang to screen all people — both foreigners and Indians — entering India after travelling from China or any other neighbouring countries.

Screening and testing centres are now also operational in the checkposts along India-Bangladesh borders with Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Four northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam share a 1,880 km border with Bangladesh, while Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh share 1,640-km of unfenced border with Myanmar.  (Agency)

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